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Core Functionality

How to narrow a search with fields

Lauren Trimble

So you want to make your search narrower, sleeker, more exact: a beautiful panther among searches. Rather than comb every inch of the website for a search term, you can narrow it to certain fields.

Say you're looking for anything on JSTOR written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you search  for "F. Scott Fitzgerald" you'll get EVERY instance of the phrase F. Scott Fitzgerald. 


If you search for F. Scott Fitzgerald in the author field, you'll find the stuff he wrote specifically. 

There are several basic fields on the top half of advanced search. To the right of the first two search bars, you'll see a list.

Full-Text searches EVERYTHING in the archive. Author limits your search to the name of an author. Item Title limits your search to titles (of books and journal/pamphlet articles) on JSTOR. Abstract searches for your terms in abstracts ONLY. Caption will search for your phrase in the captions beneath photos (this is especially relevant in art journals should you, say, be looking for a specific painting). 

But wait, there are even MORE fields.

You can keep narrowing your search by item type (Articles, Books, Pamphlets, Reviews and everything else), date range, language, publication (aka a specific journal, book or pamphlet) title, ISBN (for books) AND discipline. Please note that before you can use this section, you'll need to have search term(s) typed in the first and/or second search bar on the page. 

If this feels really basic, you can bypass Advanced Search altogether and just enter your own field codes on basic search

The format looks like this: (FIELD CODE: "Search term")

So, in the case of F. Scott Fitzgerald our search would be: ( au:"F. Scott Fitzgerald") Here are some other codes that might come in handy:

  • au: = author
  • ti: = title (journal)
  • tb: = title (book)
  • ca: = caption
  • ab: = abstract

If you want to get even more complicated, you can add narrowing layers with the codes below. Say you wanted to find a review of one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels. Your search might look like: (au:"F. Scott Fitzgerald") (ty:brv)

  • jo: = journal name
  • la: = language
  • ty: = type of item
  • ty:brv = book reviews

Got it? That's cause for celebration.